Sep 7, 2023 - Economy

Employee happiness is plummeting — and it's costly for businesses

Data: BambooHR; Chart: Axios Visuals

Employees are more unhappy now than they were during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new report from human resources cloud platform BambooHR.

Why it matters: Disengaged employees can be costly, and openly unhappy or disloyal employees can directly impact company morale by creating a toxic workplace.

State of play: BambooHR gathered data from 57,000 unique employees across 1,600 companies between January 2020 and June 2023 and found that employee satisfaction has fallen significantly since 2020.

  • Employee sentiment has declined at a rate 10 times faster than the previous three years.

Zoom in: Health care employees are the most unhappy, having seen positive sentiment drop by 32% from June 2020 to June 2023, followed by the education sector, which saw happiness ratings fall two times faster than in the previous two years.

  • Those in tech and finance also reported declining scores.

Yes, but: Those in construction are the happiest due to a rise in wages and job opportunities.

What they're saying: Macro stressors trickle down and affect how people feel at work, Anita Grantham, head of human resources at BambooHR, told Axios.

  • "There's a general sense of uneasiness — whether it's the rate of inflation, rounds of layoffs, uncertainty with return to office, hybrid or remote work policies, and the isolation that comes with it, plus the most recent wave of COVID, a lot is happening right now to make [employees] feel gloomy."

Between the lines: Lack of connection could also be to blame.

  • Remote, in-person and hybrid employees feel disconnected from their workplaces' "mission and purpose," according to a new Gallup survey.
  • Employees aren't experiencing highs or lows — instead, they are expressing a sense of resignation or even apathy, according to BambooHR.

Go deeper ... Read the entire report.

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